Posted by: Laura A. H. Elliott | May 15, 2011

Answer: Reunion Story

The most stately house on the lake belonged to Esther. Nothing had changed. She had the kind of life I knew she’d always have. A life I used to dream about. We stopped going to the formal events at Homecoming about ten years ago. Nights full of joy had turned to a kind of sorrow as the years wore on. More and more painful stories. Empty chairs. Those we knew. Those we wished we knew better. Those we would never know at all.

We took turns hosting every year. It was the three of us we cared about most of all anyway. Everyone else seemed like intruders as the years rolled on. I mean, if you had no one to sit with after fifty years, well, like I said, a kind of sorrow.

I pull up to Esther’s summer home, guarded by two stone pillars two times my height with a black plaque, Ryan written in raised gold letters. A good, strong name. My stomach drops like it did the first time Patrick brought me here, so many lifetimes ago, God rest his soul. Ester’s outside to greet me after I make the mile long drive. I take the circular drive in front of what my parents called a mansion. She’s wearing her signature blue, a dress this time, with a white sweater effortlessly strewn over her shoulders. She motions me to park under the concrete portico at the front door. And it takes my breath away. The view I hadn’t had since that night. The night we held hands for the very first time. When we pulled in the drive.

I practically leap out of my POS car, which looks even POS-ier surrounded by the stone mansion, the forsythia in full bloom, the manicured dogwood and Esther’s roses. My heart beats like the young girl who’d just held Patrick’s hand. I could still feel him close and shuddered. Esther and I do what we always do. I give her forget-me-nots. She gives me lily-of-the-valley and we hug a year’s worth of hugs in a minute. Trudy makes her way up the drive behind me. We put our flowers in a vase Esther’s prepared this year. Trudy’s driver opens her door. Slow to straighten up, a wince clouds her ever-present smile when she reaches in for her Edelweiss. When the Rolls leaves it’s just us three. Like no time has passed. And we look at each other with all the memories of the girls we once were. Trudy slips her flowers into the vase with a wink.

Some things a person thinks will last forever. I never expected the way we would be pulled apart.

© Laura Elliott, 2011


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